Families, friends locked out of graduation ceremony in Delaware

Saturday, June 10, 2017 07:00AM
Families, friends locked out of graduation ceremony in Del. Gray Hall reports during Action News at 4:30 p.m. on June 9, 2017.


Many family members and friends missed their loved ones' big moment after being locked out of a graduation ceremony in Delaware.

"Sorry really isn't enough, because I waited so long for my mom to see me graduate from high school, but it is not acceptable at all, and I really don't know what else to say," William Penn High student Makayia Rollins said.

Makayia is heartbroken.

She says her William Penn High School graduation was ruined after her mom was prevented from seeing the ceremony Thursday night.

"It is really not fair to me at all, because it could have been anybody's mom, but it was mine, and I don't think that was fair to me," she said.

Viewers shared video showing frustrated crowds of family members being locked out of the ceremony.

Makayia's mom says she was told the University of Delaware's Bob Carpenter Center, where the graduation was held, was filled to capacity, and even though she had a ticket would not be allowed in.

"She said she didn't hear me cheering for her in the bleachers. You wait 12 years for this, 12 long years for this one day and you don't get it. You can never get this day back. No matter how many kids you got, you never get this day back for that one kid," Makayia's mom, Chtara Lecompte, said.

Lecompte says she was shattered. She now lives in Georgia and allowed her daughter to stay with relatives in Delaware for several months to finish out the school year.

All they have are pictures of them in tears outside of the graduation, and a small clip a relative captured with a cell phone from inside the ceremony.

"I don't think sorry is enough. I don't think any money or anything can pay for the fact that you are never going to get that day back," Lecompte said.

The district's superintendent says it was out of their control.

He says the school gave out 4,800 tickets and the university could sit up to 5,600.

Blakey says the blame is on the University of Delaware.

Colonial School District Superintendent Dusty Blakey said, "We had 560 graduates. It is probably the biggest high school graduation they would do, and they took visuals they were not clicking and taking actual numbers. They took a visual perspective and made the decisions based on that"

Blakey says he completely understands why parents are upset and admits there is nothing that can be done to reverse what happened, but is working to make sure that there is not a repeat.

"Moving forward we will make sure this doesn't happen again because it is not fair to our community, it's not fair to our students and it is a mile stone you can't get back, Superintendent Blakey said.
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